Today's Blogs


Bloggers gasp at Tom DeLay’s suggestion that the budget is perfectly healthy; they also react to the third day of the John Roberts hearings and to a Chinese company that is making beauty products derived from the collagen of executed prisoners.

Hammered: Last week, it was FEMA Director Michael Brown. This week, it’s Tom DeLay, who’s managed the impressive feat of uniting the blogosphere. DeLay made the stunning announcement that there is “no fat left to cut” in the federal budget, which is currently running at a $331 billion deficit.

Libertarian Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit begs to differ. “Give it to me, Tom. I’ll find some things to cut. Starting with your salary, which you don’t seem to be earning,” he writes. Conservative Andrew Sullivan gives the House majority leader a little tap on the shoulder. “Er, Mr DeLay, you have presided over the biggest explosion in pork and government spending in living memory,” he writes. “You and your president, in an astonishingly swift five years, have managed to add $2 trillion to the debt we and the next generation will have to pay back in taxes or inflation. … This is what conservatism has now come to mean: the worst aspects of big government liberalism with the worst aspects of meddling in the moral decisions of people’s private lives.” Blogger Joyful Christian also mourns the death of fiscal conservatism, declaring that the Republicans’ “dedication to small government” is “officially dead.”

Liberal Atrios digs up some numbers that DeLay surely wouldn’t like: “The Republicans have, for my entire existence, run on a platform of cutting spending and taxes, and then never actually cuttting the spending. Now DeLay says their work is done - no spending cuts needed. …[I]t must be pointed out, that federal expenditures as a percentage of GDP were higher in 2002,2003, and 2004 than they were in 1997,1998, and 1999.” Meanwhile, at liberal blog Reconstitution,Noe_Wun has the munchies. “I want some of whatever Tom’s smoking, two liters of Dr. Pepper and two large cheese pizzas,” he says. “There are so many outright lies, contradictions and helpings of USDA Prime Bullshit in that brief statement I don’t know where to begin.”

Roberts hearing, day 3: As his Senate confirmation hearings continued today, John Roberts was asked about eminent domain, judicial review, and media access.

Blogs for Bush’s Matt Margolis, who is live-blogging the event, cheers Roberts on and attempts to pinpoint the Democratic strategy: “They ask Roberts questions they know he can’t answer to a) make it appear like he’s not being forthcoming, or b) try to trick him to answering the questions and putting him in a position to have to recuse himself from some of these cases on issues important to the Democrats agenda.”

Both liberals and conservatives think Roberts may be on their side. The Federalist Society at Yale Law School’s Angus Dwyer, a conservative, affirms Roberts’ position on judicial review: “Judicial review doesn’t exist because the Founders wanted to put all the difficult questions in the hands of unelected judges, to have the judiciary police the political branches … if there isn’t actually a genuine case before them, courts have no business striking down even the most egregious violations of the Constitution.” Commenting on SCOTUSblog, Simon opines that Roberts has indicated tendencies that are far from conservative: “It seems to me that in the last 24 hours, Roberts has endorsed substantive due process, the living constitution, and now Kelo. How does this square against Bush’s promise to appoint Justices in the model of Thomas and Scalia (if, indeed, that promise is not entirely apocryphal), and is there any particular reason why it should not be Republicans, rather than Democrats, who should be glum about this nomination?”

Read more about the Roberts hearing. Read Dahlia Lithwick’s daily coverage here.

Collagen from corpses: Bloggers are aghast at thisGuardian investigation into an unnamed Chinese company that is reaping collagen from the skin of executed prisoners in order to make lip and wrinkle treatments for European markets.

Some are using the story to rail against trade with China. Posting on Christian blog Jack, Danny Carlton writes, “How many of those executed prisoners are Christians arrested, convicted and executed for simply going to church?” At eclectic group blog Obsidian Wings, Charles Bird thinks the “deeper issue” is that the Chinese “dictatorship is powerful enough to influence American companies, and those corporations who place profits over morality will toe the line with the Chinese regime and adopt business tactics that aid and abet governmental repression.”

At least one blogger is blasé about the procedure. Commenting on Bat_Cheva, Piroshki writes, “There are any number of people out there who make soap from breast milk and sell it. Likewise are there people who make soap from fat taken out of liposuction procedures and sell that. In some of the above cases, the donor is willing, and acknowledges the fact that s/he has volunteered their milk or lard. Others are not. … If someone could clarify what makes this ‘creepy’, I’d appreciate it, because while it may be risky, it’s really no different than what already goes on here.”

Read more about Chinese corpses and collagen.

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